All too often, the phrase "corporate free press" is something of an oxymoron. Whether to maximise sales, to attract advertisers, or simply to promote the interests of their wealthy owners, the mass media open strange, self-serving and grossly distorted windows onto the world.
This website is another window. Here you'll find documentaries, lectures and interviews following a different editorial line.
The US company Raytheon is one of the largest arms manufacturers in the world, supplying guidance systems for many of the missiles and bombs used by US and Israeli forces in the Middle East. Raytheon systems guided the Qana bomb to the bunker where it blasted and crushed at least 51 people, including many children, to death.
People say that there are two issues in this year’s elections: the war and the economy. But in many ways, that’s just one issue – Joseph Stiglitz talking at the London School of Economics last month(paraphrased from memory).
Wars are always expensive affairs, but the occupation of Iraq has taken that to new levels. Private armies of “civilian contractors” and cost-plus “reconstruction firms” have notoriously pushed up the price, but caring for wounded veterans also takes its toll on the economy, as does the increase in the price of oil.
However, few of these costs made themselves felt in the first four and a half years of war. The Federal Reserve has created a bubble of debt, allowing half a trillion to be spent on the military (never mind all the hidden costs) without any associated tax increase. That bubble is now bursting – or so argues the Nobel Prize-winning economist and notorious World Bank whistleblower Joseph Stiglitz in this address to Colombia University.
Welcome to a new 21st century year, and how better to kick it off with a bit of real life sci-fi? This 29 minute documentary examines the American establishment’s attempts to consolidate its hegemony through the militarisation of space.
Okay, there’s unintentional hilarity from the low production values – including the worst autocue reading I’ve ever seen, and the old confusion between, on the one hand, Cheney and Rumsfeld’s wildest and most sinister fantasies and, on the other, the real world – but serious points are raised and it’s worth seeing through the medium to the message
Most of us have no direct experience of war. Most of what we do know of war comes from films, and overwhelmingly American films. Tonight we bring you not one, but two documentaries, via Michael Greenwell, that show how Hollywood’s portrayal of war is influenced by the American military.
Reconstructing Iraq, apparently, is a job for Bechtel, Halliburton and other firms grown rich from burning the Third World’s money. Private data extraction specialists were behind some of the worst atrocities of Abu Ghraib and elsewhere, and the mercenaries of Blackwater are literally making a killing. The number of contractors like these in Iraq has been growing since the outset of hostilities, and has now overtaken that of regular troops.
Iraq For Sale
This Robert Greenwald film (76 mins) views the problem very much through a “Support The Troops” lens, but is nevertheless a shocking and highly informative exposé.
Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Private Army
Investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill talks about everyone’s favourite mercenaries in this interview (41 mins) for Democracy Now.
Colombia: a land of intense natural beauty and biodiversity, the setting for the literature of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and the recipient of more U.S. ‘military aid’ than anywhere outside the Middle East and Afghanistan.
Behind the paper-thin (and increasingly irrelevant) charade of a War On Drugs, the U.S. continues to support the brutal, racist counter-revolution that started in 1948 – and to generate business for its own military-industrial complex.
Oh, and I’m pretty sure the opening credits are supposed to do that.
After years spent undermining the economies of developing nations, bringing them under control of history’s most subtle and most global empire, self-described economic hitman John Perkins blew the whistle in 2004. Though studiously ignored by the mainstream media, his Confessions… found a massive audience; it spent some time in the New York Times’ bestseller list without that paper ever having reviewed it.
In this address (52 mins + 16 mins Q&A) to the activist group Veterans For Peace (h/t Opinionated Indian), Perkins explains the methodology of what he calls Imperial Corporatocracy and how it has dominated the history of the last 60 years.
… where Perkins explains how debt is used as a tool of empire, and looks at the last three decades in the Middle East. The oil embargo of the early 1970s was followed by an intense colonisation of Saudi Arabia; it took some time longer to get there in Iraq.
… on the decades of repression of South America, and the recent continent-wide popular uprising against the Corporatocracy. Also, Perkins’ call for activism against corporate excesses.
What do the world’s second busiest airport, an embassy the size of the Vatican city-state, and an important Mesopotamian heritage site have in common? See this documentary (28 mins) from AlternateFocus (h/t PeoplesGeography).
Slowly, the occupying armies in Iraq are moving from many small encampments to a few town-sized megabases. Far away from the frontline – and further still from the Iraqi people – these vast luxurious complexes make a pretty penny for the industrial military complex, and will guarantee an American presence in Iraq for generations. Forget “… when the job is done”, and welcome to imperial annexation.